Mantua school gets first library in 25 years

October 12, 2012 3:15:15 PM PDT
The West Philadelphia Alliance for Children helped create the first working library at Morton McMichael School in 25 years.

For a generation there has been no librarian and no ability for students to check out books.

As students spent time there Friday, they've already noticed some changes.

"There are brand new books," said one student excitedly.

Among the contributions from the WePAC, volunteers will now staff the library twice a week, holding classes and allowing for books to be checked out.

David Florig, the non-profit's executive director, says they're working to reverse the steady erosion of library services in Philadelphia for the past 30 years.

"By law in Pennsylvania, each of the 26 state prisons is required to have a librarian with a master's degree and a large collection of books and periodicals. That requirement doesn't exist for schools," said Florig.

Two years ago several classrooms were cleared for the space, and last year donations from multiple groups helped boost the book collection and improve technology.

Taking books home will only continue to improve literacy.

"Having the high quality literature that an adult can read and choosing to read in your free time, is a big component in balanced literacy," said Gina Conallen, kindergarten teacher.

The long term goal is to grow the library and eventually keep it open five days a week.

It's an effort that will take more funding and more volunteers. To learn more about the West Philadelphia Alliance for Children, visit www.wepac.org.


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